Individuals or groups of people who claim that their rights are being violated may ask that their complaints be considered by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. They must first have exhausted all available domestic remedies, and the State concerned must recognize the competence of the Committee to do so.
The procedure before the Committee is entirely confidential: Anonymous complaints (“communications”) will not be accepted. When the Committee decides that an individual communication is admissible, it transmits the communication to the State party concerned, but the identity of the petitioner is not revealed without his or her expressed consent.
Within three months, the State Party concerned submits written explanations to the Committee.
After examining the arguments of each party, the Committee draft its opinion which is communicated to the petitioner and to the State party concerned. If the Committee finds a violation of the Convention, the State party should revise its law and/or practice in the light of the Committee’s opinion. The Committee invites the State party to inform it in due course of the measures it has taken in connection with the suggestions and recommendations of the Committee.
As of 31 May 2008, only three African States have recognized the competence of the Committee with regard to individual communications: